Given BlackBerry’s poor performance, the double departure of brand owner Research In Motion’s co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie (MWlinks.co.uk/ BBCEO) smacks more of a quick dash for the exit rather than what the former describes as “passing the baton”.
One of the problems is that the BlackBerry brand has lost its USP. Rival instant messaging apps like Whatsapp are now common features across other smartphone platforms, and the once-lauded BlackBerry Messenger email system is becoming increasingly overshadowed.
The rescue package put together by RIM chief operating officer Thorsten Heins involves rallying the company’s troops to launch the next-generation BlackBerry 10 handsets later this year. His focus on delivering the hardware is admirable, but the smartphone market is saturated and the worry is that RIM will always remain one step behind the other big players.
Investors have been questioning for a while what RIM’s strategy is. The problem is that the likes of Apple and Samsung are so dominant in their space, that it’s hard to envisage what RIM can do now to gain any ground.